Monday, 6 June 2011

It's a funny thing

I browsed a little of Steve Wheeler's blog today and one of his articles opens with:

"I'm firmly of the opinion that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools is misplaced and therefore misused."

I stopped reading at that point* because I periodically struggle with this thought. If the technology is available in a library, and you want to teach your class how to develop a wiki, you have to spend the first and last 5 minutes of the class in shifting them around. Then you have to deal with the disruption once you reach the library and your students experience the novelty of the situation.

If the technology is available in the classroom it takes up a *lot* of space and if they are placed on desks, then when they are not in use they are blocking the student's participation in the class (it's difficult to see over a normal sized monitor, and keyboards take up a lot of space.

The solution therefore is portable - you simply pull the machine out of the desk when it's required. But then you have to have a deep level of trust in your students not to damage them or steal them.

Therefore, issue each student with their own laptop/ tablet that they can use whenever and however they wish. And can you hear the collective intake of the accountants' breath?

The truth is, this technology isn't as expensive as it used to be and there are all kinds of options for making it cheaper. But in this time, with all the cuts required, I find it hard to push for the students to be given these if the only way it will fit into the budget is by removing the expense of a member of staff.

There are also other expensive problems. What I have to get used to is that in my position, I don't need to solve those problems. After all, the areas they occur in are not my speciality and there could be many problems I never considered. Maybe I should get used to floating the ideas and have other people dealing with the practicalities.

Note - I didn't stop reading because I wasn't interested, but because it was important to me to figure out my own opinions on the matter before reading somebody else's